In Memoriam Tony Kay
|Rarely does anyones
death impact upon me, but Tony Kay's departure from the
world has. Maybe that is because his life had an impact
upon me too.
I first met Tony at the National Autistic Society in 2000, my first NAS meeting.
I was getting out of my car in the car park, and I asked him the way to the meeting.
I encountered him again in 2001 at the Glasgow AGM where I was quite challenging at the meeting
In 2000 I had merely asked what our place was in the NAS. by the next year I was demanding that we have one.
In the meantime, I became part of that change in the NAS, by being elected to the Council and being co-opted onto the Constitutional Working party.
I think that is where I really got to know Tony and over time I saw the need for and learnt the art of compromise and patience in getting through the reforms I saw as vitally necessary to the future of the NAS.
This year I was at the 2005 International conference in Hammersmith, I looked in vain for Tony's presence there, because I could recall vividly his being at the 2003 event, where I remember when he took me aside over my concerns for user involvement and reform of the NAS and told me that he had things to say that he was sure I would be pleased to hear.
Well the constitutional reform went through, not 100% to my satisfaction but as practicable a compromise was as possible. By that time I no longer felt an outsider pushing against a behemoth, I felt part of the the organisation. I thank Tony for that.
Since coming onto the board, with something to prove, I found more and more that Tony was on our side. The day before he died, saw a celebration of autism in Leicester Square. Looking at the many autism societies around the world and looking at the tragic model that some still push out, the demonisation of autism, the diminishing of our adult talents, I know Tony did not stand for any of that.
When I heard of his death, I was deeply upset, His funeral is taking place tomorrow. I cannot be there, but I can think of no more fitting memorial to him, than to continue the work he believed in, a dignified life for all people on the autistic spectrum.
He may not have been at the International Conference, but he was in a way, for in my own presentation he featured in the video that I showed, making positive statements about the role we have to play in the NAS.
Tony you will not be forgotten, your work will live on, nonetheless I shall miss you.
Copyright © 2005 Laurence Arnold
This page was created Monday October 3rd 2005